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Guilty Pleasures/Foods and Restaurants You are Embarrassed to Admit that You Like [Moved from W. Canada board]

a
anewton Nov 4, 2009 10:14 AM

I copped this idea for a thread from the Pacific Northwest board--they phrased it slightly differently (places you want to hate but secretly love). Anyway, it makes for interesting reading. No matter how great one's aspirations are to be a 'foodie', I think that each of us enjoys, perhaps secretly, foods and restaurants that are at the far end of the spectrum from gourmet cooking or fine dining.

I'll start.

1) Westernized food court 'Asian' food. Can be utterly terrible, but I'll always have a sweet memory of the ginger beef and rice combos that I frequently dined upon at the University of Calgary food court circa 2002-2003.
2) Italian-American food: Faux Italian that is usually heavy, unhealthy (lots of carbs, salt, and fat), and clumsily prepared. I'll fess up to having infrequent cravings that lead me to join the insane and unjustified lineups at Pagliacci's in Victoria. I usually go for the "Ravioli Paradiso"--spinach and ricotta ravioli tossed with sundried tomatoes, walnuts, and gorgonzola cream. Paired with their very greasy, overly salty bread (all-you-can-eat) and followed up with a dessert chaser--a slice of their leaden NY cheesecake. This kind of dinner will certainly keep companies like Tums and Rolaids in the black.
3) Tex-Mex--Horror of horrors! Restaurants using store-bought wheat flour tortillas, loads of melted generic cheese, and a paltry amount of spice. I've had more than my fair share of Tex-Mex 'combo' dinners, even in recent years (yes, I can be spotted on occasion at 'Cafe Mexico' in Victoria).
4) Ice Cream Chains: Perhaps shouldn't be included here as a lot of people have a fondness for these type of places, but I confess that I cannot go too long without procuring a coffee coffee buzz buzz milkshake at Ben and Jerry's. Ever notice how rare it is for the ma and pa, non-chain gourmet ice cream places to bother with shakes?
5) Annie's Pastas: Basically Kraft Dinner for yuppies. But yep, I like it and I eat it fairly regularly.

Would love to hear confessions from other Western Canada posters. The Pac-NW board discussion was priceless...about 10 people on that board discovered that they have a shared, secret love of Safeway deli fried chicken.

-----
Pagliacci's
1011 Broad St, Victoria, BC V8W2A1, CA

  1. John Manzo Nov 4, 2009 11:35 AM

    Tex Mex is a perfectly valid cuisine- carnitas are tex mex! What you've had in VIctoria (Victoria?!) is NOT TEX MEX. It is Canadianized garbage.

    2 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo
      a
      anewton Nov 4, 2009 02:35 PM

      While I wouldn't argue that I've had (and enjoyed) Canadianized garbage in Victoria (a la Cafe Mexico), I also wouldn't paint the whole Mexican food scene in Victoria with one brush. Anyone who has eaten at Hernandez (which is actually more Mayan/Central American than strictly Mexican) and enjoyed one of their excellent huaraches or ordered their tacos knows how delicious and authentic they are. Actually some of the best latin American food I have found in Canada. One can also find authentic Mexican food at Orale, though it is not as good as Hernandez.

      But point taken about Tex-Mex being a valid cuisine. I tend to see the term being used as a blanket description of American-ized Mexican cuisine, but indeed there is a valid, gourmet Tex-Mex cuisine.

      -----
      Orale
      1002 Johnson St, Victoria, BC V8V3N7, CA

      1. re: anewton
        fmed Nov 4, 2009 02:56 PM

        There is a bit of a minor surge in authentic Mexican food here it seems (a good sign). I have heard great things about both Hernandez and Orale. Next time I'm in Victoria, I have to make sure to check at least one of them out.

        Here in Vancouver, newly opened La Taqueria is getting raves for authenticity from knowledgeable people with good palates. Tacquerias here are authentic enough - Don Guacamoles, EL Taco, Dona Cata are others that offer authentic Tacos....I'm still looking for a more upscale regional Mexican experience that Tequila Kitchen promised but wasn't able to deliver.

        -----
        Tequila Kitchen
        1043 Mainland St, Vancouver, BC V6B, CA

        Orale
        1002 Johnson St, Victoria, BC V8V3N7, CA

        Don Guacamole Restaurant
        1333 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E, CA

    2. c
      cleopatra999 Nov 4, 2009 11:38 AM

      fun topic, I have got a few

      -swiss chalet chicken & sauce

      -grilled cheese sandwiches from almost any diner, but especially from Husky House, on white bread made with cheese slices not real cheddar.

      -pub food - natchos, wings, dry ribs you name it....if its fried or loaded with cheese and served with beer! Hudson's is my favorite place for this grub but it is pretty similar at any pub.

      -ichiban or Mr.noodles or any such noodle soup, the restaurant version is the ramen at Joeys

      -Tim Horton's tim bits, chocolate

      1. fmed Nov 4, 2009 12:24 PM

        White Spot, Wendy's, Orange Julius for me.

        2 Replies
        1. re: fmed
          fmed Nov 4, 2009 02:57 PM

          Church's Chicken is another. The horror.

          1. re: fmed
            f
            Florentine Nov 4, 2009 04:22 PM

            White Spot, definitely.

            Ditto for Dairy Queen.

            I blame it on childhood in Greater Vancouver.

          2. s
            slingshotz Nov 4, 2009 01:58 PM

            A&W onion rings, wings at pubs, Wendy's taco salad, Orange Julius, AYCE sushi, Swiss Chalet chicken and gravy, Taco Time tacos and mexi "fries".

            I have to say my biggest weakness is probably the onion rings....

            5 Replies
            1. re: slingshotz
              h
              hclass Nov 4, 2009 02:16 PM

              In that case I suggest you try the onion rings at Fatburger....

              1. re: hclass
                a
                anewton Nov 4, 2009 02:26 PM

                I must second what others have posted about wings at pubs, pub nachos, pub ribs, etc...Though fully aware that the wings most pubs use come in a bag, ready to deep-fry, I cannot help but enjoy them nonetheless, particularly when washed down with a cold beer.

                And onion rings in almost any guise are irresistible. I prefer them when the restaurant has actually made them (i.e. cut up the onions themselves and used a homemade batter) but would not blink if offered a pre-fab onion ring.

                A blast from the past...Mocha Kahlua pie at Earl's in the 1980's. Not sure if it is still on their menu, but that used to be a personal fav.

                1. re: hclass
                  Michelly Nov 5, 2009 06:42 PM

                  Fatburger is still the best fast food burger around. And definitely get the oniion rings.

                  1. re: Michelly
                    c
                    cleopatra999 Nov 6, 2009 11:40 AM

                    When I was vacationing in Vegas I discovered In n' Out burger, we went 2x in a week!! and I am not a fast food burger fan. I am glad we don't have them (yet) up in Western Canada

                    1. re: cleopatra999
                      j
                      just_M Nov 6, 2009 01:46 PM

                      No shame in your game, In N Out is IMO one of the only fast food joints you can hold your head high and wear a t-shirt for. Not that I wear t-shirts, hmm I wonder if they sell hoodies? In anycase the cheese burger w/grilled onion and twice fried fries is my fix of choice.

              2. Bryn Nov 4, 2009 03:02 PM

                Denny's Grand Slam. I like the variety of options I can get.

                1. mcel215 Nov 4, 2009 03:22 PM

                  Baja Fresh - Fish Taco's

                  Chipotle's Burrito

                  Cheesecake Factory - Chicken Lettuce Wrap

                  Burger King - Whopper

                  McD's Fries

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mcel215
                    a
                    anewton Nov 4, 2009 04:02 PM

                    Yeah, even though Chipotle's is a big chain, I have to admit that I find their burrito to be tasty.

                  2. sweeterpea Nov 4, 2009 04:52 PM

                    Costco Hotdogs
                    ANYTHING from Cheesecake Factory. We have to go at least once when we're in the US.
                    White Spot Burgers (the actual restaurant not the fast food white spot places)
                    The Carriage House Hotel (Calgary) Dining room.

                    1. Missy2U Nov 5, 2009 09:14 AM

                      Hmm - this really got me thinking.

                      1. Fast food. I know - it's so utterly un-houndish but I loves me some McDonald's and Arby's and White Castle! I could eat at one of those three once a week if I could afford it!

                      2. Kraft Mac and Cheese deluxe dinner

                      3. Jewel (Chef's Kitchen) thin and crispy pizza.

                      4. Cold duck. The beverage - not the one with a beak.

                      I'm sure there are more but I'm starting to blush.

                      1. im_nomad Nov 7, 2009 04:59 AM

                        I'm not sure i'm embarassed to admit that I like anything really....

                        But i'm absolutely certain that my fondness for caesar salad in all of its un-natural forms and goopy dressing puts me low on the CH list. It is my junk-y guilty pleasure to get one from the local pizza joint along with a topping of mozzarella and "bacon bits". I note that I absolutely adore a from-scratch caesar salad.... but it's one of those things i'll take in any form.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: im_nomad
                          c
                          cycloneillini Nov 7, 2009 07:34 PM

                          McD's Filet o' Fish

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